Shasta Lake continued to experience a rapid drop in levels with a continuous and persistent release of water at Shasta Dam by the Bureau Of Reclamation. Flows of 70,000 cfs into the Sacramento River from Keswick Reservoir which lies between Shasta Dam and the lower Sac, has reduced the current lake level to 34' below full pool. Previous winter storms and snow melt during warmer high elevation temperatures wreaked havoc on Shasta Lake by filling it with wood and debris while also turning its water color to a very dirty brown. The lake water temperature continues to hover around 48-49 degrees making for a tough bite just about everywhere in the lake. The one exception seems to be the creeks flowing into the main body of Shasta, especially during and after significant rainfall. Creeks spilling dirty water and even creeks which tend to run clear, continue to attract the best numbers of bass and even the rainbow and brown trout.
Cleaner water in the main body of Shasta Lake and a rise in water temps will likely be what it takes to turn on the bite again. March the past few years has provided some very good fishing on Shasta Lake, but with current conditions this year, its looking like April may be when things really begin to turn on for the bass and trout fishermen. Forecasters have indicated that we will continue to see a continued wet weather pattern in the foreseeable future so I would expect to see the same conditions for weeks to come.
Keeping your presentations moving slow is key in this cold water still and the darker colored baits also show up for these lethargic bass in the low visibility water. There are a lot of techniques that will trigger a bite so don't stick to one bait unless its really working during your day on the water. Covering lots of water and finding concentrations of bass will up your odds for success. If you find some clear water spilling into the lake, fish the mud line, its been a go to location for many bass anglers the past few weeks.
Just remember, you can't catch fish sitting on the couch so get out there and try to find some great bass for the live well! Larger specimens of bass don't have the luxury of examining your baits for very long in this dirty water so catching bigger fish this time of year is quite common and possible even for the occasional angler. If you do get out on Shasta, please remember that there is a lot of debris still in certain sections of the lake and can be very hazardous when running your boat. Keep an eye out for any signs of debris or large pieces of wood, including logs, and keep your boat speeds down so you have time to react if necessary to avoid a collision. Always wear a PFD (life vest) while under way and always pay attention to conditions on the lake. Shasta can get very "big" on the main body and can be hazardous when the winds kick up during a storm.